Thursday, August 9, 2012

Near Field Communication (NFC)


Wikipedia defines it as-“Near field communication (NFC) is a set of standards for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other by bringing them into close proximity.”

In simpler words it is a technology which makes life easier and more convenient for us by making transactions, exchange of digital content, and connection of electronic devices much simpler and efficient.

Importance –

NFC appears to have the potential to significantly change how we view and use our mobile/cellular phones. In INDIA NFC and m-payments have great potential due to the relationship between a mobile subscriber and their handset, where the mobile device is often with the end-user for most of their waking time? With mobile penetration is reaching 100 per cent in the masses, the mobile phone will soon be in virtually every ones pocket. NFC Payments, banking and cashless shopping are currently major areas of growth in the Indian mobile world and these are set to become even more specialized than they are at the moment.

Let’s have a detailed look of this revolutionary concept and why According to Gartner
 NFC is among the -"Top 10 strategic technologies for 2012"-

1. Contact less Payment

NFC has a short range of about 1.5 inches. This makes it a good choice for secure transactions, such as contact less credit card payments. MasterCard and Visa are both members of the NFC Forum, and both companies have been involved in pilot programs that use NFC-enabled phones as a flash payment option. In fact Visa recently announced a €100 Million annual investment in Europe to enable m-commerce.


2. Transportation

NFC works with most contactless smart cards and readers, meaning it could easily be integrated into the public transit payment systems in cities that already use a smart card swipe. So for people using Indian railways regularly it could mean a hassle free option of not purchasing ticket by placing your mobile phone near the NFC counter.

Indian Brts smart card is a step towards the appication of NFC in day  to day life.

3. Ease of Use

If NFC-enabled phones, you’ll be able to initiate a two-player game within seconds by just touching your phones together. You’ll be able to link a headset to your phone or print a photo just by touching your device to a printer.NFC drastically reduces the time consumed to establish secured connection.

4. Smart Objects

NFC can read NFC-tag information’s. An NFC tag often contains information like a phone number or URL.For example Students could get their individual daily schedule, announcements, and information about homework by waving their phones past the installed tags. Also they can be used as a substitute for keys (unlock your hotel room door with NFC) or to quickly Access a network.

5. NFC Power Saver

We all know that stand-by appliances such as your TV, chargers and laptops consume significant amounts of power when they are plugged in even when they are not in use. The NFC Power Saver could cut the power off when you go out or when you leave the room just by tapping a card or your phone to an NFC console. Another tap and power goes back on.

Current Status-

There are over 50 phones available in the market having NFC and over 100 phones which will launch in 2012 having NFC.

Microsoft's- Windows Phone operating system has startedl NFC in mobile phones from 2012.

Nokia- has confirmed that all its future Symbian smartphones will support NFC from 2012.

Google/Android- All upcoming Android devices would include support for NFC.

HTC, LG, Motorola, RIM, Samsung and Sony Ericsson have announced that they will all be implementing Isis' NFC and technology standards.
PayPal has unveiled a service that allows Android users to transfer funds between NFC-enabled mobile devices, simply by tapping them together.

ISIS, a joint mobile payment venture between AT&T , Verizon  and T-Mobile, just announced partnerships with three new credit card companies: Visa , MasterCard  and American Express .


Near Field Communication represents an extremely interesting technology and the ramifications of this technology are astounding – to the end-user, intermediaries, merchants, banking, service providers and the like. There is a lot of wind behind the NFC sails and this boat is sailing fast…the question is-“how fast will the boat reach us and how quickly would we jump in it?”


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